ABC Bets on Devilish Digs, Hayden Panettiere For Fall


The upfront media caravan, loaded with cameras, camels and expectations, moved onto ABC”s presentation in Manhattan Tuesday afternoon.

The network heads into fall with several concerns: Dancing with the Stars has been registering fewer happy feet in the ratings – Jimmy Kimmel, in his annual standup appearance, suggested the only way you”ll see stars on the show is if you bang your head – and Desperate Housewives, a long-running signature hit, just ended Sunday.

Well, Paul Lee, president of the ABC Entertainment Group, quickly addressed those points on Tuesday afternoon:

Revenge, which is as perfect as a primetime melodrama can be, is moving to the Wives” timeslot. And the next season of Dancing will be an all-star edition with fan favorites. Sadly, Cloris Leachman is currently employed over on Fox”s Raising Hope.

The new series for September include a sitcom that looks suspiciously so-so (Neighbors: aliens in suburbia) and dramas that are promisingly ambitious:

666 Park Avenue: Horror-tinged story about diabolical goings-on in a luxurious Manhattan apartment building. It made me think of Rosemary”s Baby in the age of large-scale condo conversion. (Watch above.)

Nashville: Finally, a show that pits old country versus new. (Perhaps “finally” is excessive.) Connie Britton, after suffering horribly on American Horror Story, is a waning singing star who goes on tour – as the opening act! – with a mean young thing played by Hayden Panettiere. (Watch below.)

Last Resort: A Tom Clancy-ish thriller about an American nuclear sub that goes rogue rather than launch an attack on Pakistan. The title could be improved. It sounds like a hospice in the tropics.

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